Belongs to: damselflies

Compare with: red-eyed damselfly

Blue-tailed damselfly Ischnura elegans

Best time to see: mid May to mid Aug

Key facts

One of Britain's commonest damselflies, usually dark with a blue tail

Habitat: early coloniser of new ponds, tolerating some pollution and brackish water

Common throughout Britain and central Europe


Usually dark with blue stripes on the abdomen and blue tail, but females may be green, orange or violet

Flies low down among waterside plants; may also be seen long distances from water; active even in dull weather

Fly from June to August, usually surviving only for a couple of weeks


Females lay eggs alone in slits cut in aquatic plants, sometimes late in the day

Larvae live among aquatic plants in shallow water, in the south emerging the following spring

Larvae climb a short way up plant stems before emerging as adults

© Tony Gunton

© Andy McGeeney

© Andy McGeeney